September 16, 2020 (Ottawa, ON) – The Canada Games Council (CGC) and the 2021 Canada Games Host Society, after consulting with the Niagara Region, the Province of Ontario and the Federal Government, have made the difficult decision to postpone next year’s Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games. The Games were originally scheduled to take place in August 2021 but, due to continued public health concerns relating to the coronavirus pandemic, they will be rescheduled to the summer of 2022.
Held every two years, alternating between winter and summer, the Canada Games are the country’s marquee event for amateur sport representing the highest level of national competition for thousands of up-and-coming Canadian athletes. More than 5,000 participants and 4,000 volunteers are expected to take part in Canada’s largest multi-sport event in the Niagara Region.
Given the uncertainty created by the ongoing pandemic, the decision to postpone the Games was made, first and foremost, to ensure the health and safety of all the athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and spectators expected to attend this event. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic would likely prevent us from delivering a phenomenal Games experience, both in terms of sport competitions and cultural events. By postponing the Niagara Canada Games, we will be able to better protect the health and safety of Games participants, the Niagara community and visitors from across the country, while delivering an extraordinary Games experience.
“All of our athletes, coaches and volunteers are top of mind for us in deciding to postpone the Games. No doubt this decision will be disappointing for those who have been training and preparing for the 2021 Games, but we hope to find their understanding and support,” said Evan Johnston, Chair of the Canada Games Council Board. “We made this difficult decision now, after careful consideration, to protect the health of Canadians and give all stakeholders more time to adjust their preparations. We will be reviewing options for new dates for the Canada Summer Games to take place during the summer of 2022 in the Niagara Region.”
“Postponing the Games certainly wasn’t an easy decision, nor one that we took lightly, but we felt it was the right choice to make,” said Doug Hamilton, Chair of the 2021 Canada Games Host Society. “In all likelihood, moving ahead with the Canada Summer Games in 2021 would have prevented us from hosting the Games’ sport competitions and cultural events in the way that they were originally envisioned. By delaying the Games to the summer of 2022, we hope to give Games participants a greater opportunity to maximize their experience, while also ensuring that Niagara can realize the full potential of hosting Canada’s largest multi-sport event.”
No decision has been made yet on the new dates for the Canada Summer Games in Niagara, but both the CGC and the Niagara Host Society are aiming for the rescheduled Games to take place during the summer of 2022. Both organizations will continue to monitor developments relating to the pandemic and to safeguard the health of all participants, staff and volunteers. We will continue to provide updates to all our stakeholders on the postponed Games, as they become available.
The Canada Games Council, as a private, non-profit organization, is the governing body for the Canada Games. Held once every two years, alternating between winter and summer, the Canada Games represent the highest level of national competition for up and coming Canadian athletes. The Games have been hosted in every province at least once since their inception in Quebec City during Canada’s Centennial in 1967. The Games are proud of their contribution to Canada’s sport development system in addition to their lasting legacy of sport facilities, community pride and national unity. The organization of the Canada Games is made possible through the tireless dedication of local Host Societies and the contribution and support of the federal, provincial/territorial and host municipal governments.
Erin Mathany, Vice President of Marketing, Communications & Partnerships
When the Canada Summer Games descend on the Niagara Region, more than 5,000 young athletes and their coaches will gather to compete for the podium in Canada’s largest multi-sport event. On its road to glory, this shining generation of hopefuls will leave its mark on our community and on the country – transforming, inspiring, and unifying us all through the power of sport.
As ambassadors of Niagara’s unrivaled warmth and compassion, thousands of volunteers will play host to the nation. The Canada Summer Games in Niagara will celebrate the wonder of sport alongside arts and culture. The Games will honour our Indigenous communities, and showcase a remarkable heritage of hard work and innovation in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring destinations.
With world-renowned hospitality, the people of Niagara will welcome visitors from across the country. Spirited events, spectacular entertainment, and the theatre of elite competition will spark new energy in the region as our streets, skies, and waterways shimmer with ceremony and celebration that is befitting of Canada’s best young athletes.
Niagara will surge stronger than ever on this vast stage by hosting one of the world’s only national youth multi-sport competitions. The Games will give rise to a new legacy of ambition, confidence, and compassion that will inspire generations to come. For further information, visit us at niagara2021.ca or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram (@2021canadagames).
Christopher Séguin, Media & Communications Coordinator
The Canada Games Council and the 2021 Canada Games Host Society have made the difficult decision to postpone the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games due to continued public health concerns relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games were scheduled to occur between August 6 and 21, 2021.
The decision was made now, after careful consideration, to protect the health of Canadians and give all stakeholders, including our 13 provincial and territorial teams, more time to adjust their preparations for a later start date.
Given the uncertainty created by the ongoing pandemic, the Games were postponed, first and foremost, to ensure the health and safety of all the athletes, coaches, staff, volunteers and spectators expected to attend this event. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic would have likely prevented us from delivering a phenomenal Games experience, both in terms of sport competitions and cultural events.
We also recognize that there has been limited organized sport in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year, which created some concerns about whether all teams could be adequately prepared for a 2021 date.
A number of factors were taken into consideration when making this decision, including:
1- Uncertainty in 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic
2- Prioritizing everyone’s health and safety
3- Improving our ability to deliver a phenomenal Games experience to all
The decision to postpone was made by the Canada Games Council and the Niagara Host Society, after consulting with the Niagara Region, the Province of Ontario, the Federal Government and other important stakeholders.
No decision has been made yet on new dates for the Canada Summer Games in Niagara. However, both the CGC and the Niagara Host Society are aiming for the rescheduled Games to take place during the summer of 2022.
The dates of future Canada Games (eg: PEI 2023, Newfoundland and Labrador 2025, etc.) have not been impacted by the postponement of the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games. The Canada Games Council will continue to work closely with stakeholders and future hosts to monitor the situation.
We are working with our sport partners on important issues around athlete eligibility and team selections. As of right now, no decisions have been made on adjustments to athlete eligibility rules, including age categories.
The CGC Sport Committee, in consultation with Provincial/Territorial governments and National Sport Organizations is reviewing the eligibility requirements for athletes, to determine whether or not adjustments are appropriate.
Athletes competing in the Canada Games are typically a few years away from competing in an Olympic or Paralympic Games and the selection process for Olympics and Paralympics is completely independent of the Canada Games.
The construction of Canada Games Park near Brock University and the planned improvements to the Henley Rowing Course in St. Catharines, two key legacy projects for the Canada Summer Games, will continue on current scheduling, unaffected by the postponement.
A later start date for the Games provides additional time to ensure those facilities are fully prepared to host spectacular events.